France has announced that it might stop importing shale natural gas from the United States because it’s extracted using hydraulic fracturing. Fracking was banned in France in 2011. Two French utilities currently contract with Houston-based Cheniere Energy, which sells them liquified natural gas (LNG) comprised of 40% shale gas. Notably, this policy debate in France is taking place as the US seeks to step up its LNG exports to Europe.
The United Kingdom used no coal in the electricity that flowed from Britain’s National Grid between midnight and 4am on May 10. This is a first since the 19th century. A number of reasons contributed to this moment. A carbon tax has made coal unprofitable in the UK and led to increased use of renewables and gas. The UK has also signaled its intent to phase out coal by 2025. In addition to all the sound policy making, serendipity also played a role in the UK’s May 10 first: a series of power plant breakdowns occurred! For more details on this – and the bumps in transitioning to a clean grid, read here.